Category Archives: J-Class

Sailing Sansara


Sansara is Second Life’s original continent. The name for this huge region refers to a Sanskrit term for a Hindu concept of continuous motion in the physical world, and according to Linden Lab, the name Sansara was assigned to the original landmass  “in order to resolve… ambiguity.” 

(Cough; maybe that’s a stretch… When was the last time you pulled out a Sanskrit dictionary and an old copy of the Bhagavad Gita to ‘resolve ambiguity?‘ 🙂 ).

Anyway, don’t let that name stop you; Sansara has a venerable history that’s closely entwined with the development of SL Sailing, and DPW is busy adding new sailing features!


Sansara is honeycombed with interconnected waterways, and it’s linked by a one-sim corridor to the smaller, Northern land mass called Heterocera Atoll

If you click on the chart below, you’ll get a 2048×2613 pixel map of the Sansara waters that includes the sim names for much of the area; it reveals the large number of navigable waterways that adorn the continent.  Actually, you can sail for many hours exploring the wide open lakes and seas linked by narrow channels that extend across Sansara, and if you want even more, you can continue cruising Northward and enter the inner seas of Heterocera!

 Perhaps its no surprise, there are many sailing groups located in Sansara; here’s a chart template below showing the locations of a few of the clubs, groups, and communities around Adriatic Sea. It also shows the locations of race buoys, Linden racelines (in red) and private racelines (in pink).

 I wanted to talk about Sansara here because the Linden Department of Public Works is currently busy upgrading a number of nautical features across the continent, and it may be a good time for sailors to make suggestions regarding the features they might like to see.

For example, while I was writing this article, Mirtoon sim sprouted a new set of islands. Thanks to Naughty Mole, who was busy at work there adding content yesterday!

Changes are also planned for Icy Bay. Southwest Sansara has an extensive ‘Snowland Region‘ made from a large collection of ice-encrusted sims as shown in the figures below. Although Snowland is one of the largest SL regions without a major waterway, it’s eastern edge drops into Icy Bay, a region composed of a half-dozen arctic-themed water sims. Icy Bay presents a nice change of pace for skippers familiar with SL’s traditionally warmer sailing themes. DPW is planning more content features there, including snow and ice on the water.


Probably the biggest content change, however, is Mare Secundus, a newly-defined region of a dozen maritime sims located in the waters west of Mowry Bay. It’s still in progress, but you can’t miss the four-sim, serpentine string of islands that form a “2” on the map shown below. Go visit the region and see for yourself; it’s very nicely done, and it’s hardly secundus class!
[If you do go take a look, a bunch of us are having a debate over the origin of the term “Mare Secundus.” I have three or four suggestions, but my guess is they are all wrong 🙂 ]

PHRF Numbers: A Classy Standard, With More Wild Boats!


Note: If you are a new sailor on the digital grid, let me apologize for the short article below.
It’s full of jargon, statistical terms, and obscure references.
Good Grief, it reads like a work memo!
Second Life Sailing’s PHRF is actually a lot of fun; it’s based on an old SL Sailing Hotlaps’ idea started by three very ‘real’ sailors: Cory Copeland, Cybrid Keats, and Kanker Greenacre (all smart skippers and all very funny people).
So…. if you are new to Hotlaps and PHRF, please don’t read this article!!  Instead, go read an Intro here.
You can then find a massive bibliography of links and posts on the history and updates to the SL-PHRF thing at the end of a recent article located here.
Actually that sounds too tedious… If any of that stuff in those articles sounds like you, please then come back here.
And if you’re a RL sailor and you don’t find what you’re looking for… no problems!
SL Sailing is a nice emulation of the real thing, and we have a global community waiting to cruise, race, or script the limits of your imagination…
If you have a question, just post a comment and ask! 🙂

 Last week I talked about  SL-PHRF numbers and posted a table of PHRF “handicaps” for a fairly large number of boats using the 2009 Madaket course. We switched to the “PHRF 2010 Course” on January 3rd, but I couldn’t report on those numbers at that time, since I thought it was important to change the “PHRF index standard.’ Based on the 2009 data, I thought the J-Class was the obvious choice as an Index Boat.

The ‘Index’ is the boat used for comparison; it’s a bit like like ‘par‘ in golf. The J-Class ‘average, good’ lap time on the 2010 test course arbitrarily gets a handicap of ‘1.00,’ and all the other boats are assigned handicap conversions relative to that number.  A boat with a handicap of “1.13” is thirteen percent faster than  the Index boat , and a boat with a handicap of  0.74′  is 26% slower.  The handicap conversion factors make it easy to level the playing field across a mixed fleet, at least with regard to solo lap times over the past few weeks. 

I commented last time that I needed 8-10 new J-Class data points to strengthen the ‘index’ for PHRF comparisons on the 2010 Course. Huge kudos to Trapez Breen and Chaos Mandelbrot for racking up thirteen new laps that fall right in a normally-distributed range, setting a basis for a new index. Norway and Texas fell dead-on the same statistical curve, volcano or not blocking their flight path! 🙂

Let me take a few sentences to comment on the choice of a new ‘index standard’ on the new test track.  The 2010 PHRF Course is roughly two sims longer than the 2009 course and in my opinion it is a better test track.
I guessed it would be perhaps 10% longer for most boats, given the extra distance and the  headings. Trapez and Chaos’ scores  came in a bit better! The new J-Class Lap time is 9.2% longer than 2009! Wow, the individual lap times and the time shift onto the new, longer course were close enough to endorse the J-Class as a new PHRF standard.  As we add more skippers and more data points in the next few months of course the baseline standard may shift appropriately; but this is a great start, with remarkably tight lap time- concurrence.

OK!!! In the first chart below, I repeat the 2009 scores through January 2, 2010. It shows the average lap times for the 2009 Madaket course, as well as the ‘corrected’ handicaps for all the boats sailed. Where available, the 2008 column shows earlier handicap data for a  large number of boats on several other test courses. There is pretty remarkable correlation over time and across multiple test scenarios.

Woots! OK the above table is closed, ended; it’s a dead-parrot.

We’re now switching to the 2010 course in an effort to demonstrate construct validity and reliability (we’ve done this as half-dozen times before). On the new course so far we have the Index boat scores, but we also have a total of 58 new test laps sailed on a variety of other boats!

Let me give a huge shout-out to Wally Warbaum, Colin Nemeth, Glorfindel Arrow, Francois Jacques, Lance Corrimal, Fearless Freenote, Trapez Breen, Aislinn Farella, Allie Tomsen, TaffyOcean Sommerstein, Slanty Uriza, Kembri Tomsen, Pensive Mission, Armano Xaris, Jane Fossett, Chaos Mandelbrot, Vin Mariani, and ahjep Kattun for running so many laps on the new 2010 course in a wide variety of boats.


At the moment I’m only reporting on a few boats; I’m waiting for the rest of the entries to reach statistical significance. However, if you are geeky enough, the numbers so far look pretty interesting! Although there are a few thousand  entries in the current database, there are only 58 valid laps on the current test course;  it will take several months to demonstrate the current results are consistent. 

Since we are changing the Index, for me the biggest question is whether the 2010 results correlate with the all the prior 2008-2009 lap info; actually, so far it looks pretty good!
For example, the  ACA33 v2.53 ranks a fast handicap score of 1.33, much faster than a J-Class but still slower than a Tako. That’s consistent with earlier ACA scores.

Even more accurate, the  WildWind RCJ-44 demonstrates an average lap time of 10:12, meriting a  handicap of 1.33; that’s a full 33% faster than a J-Class on the same course. More importantly, on the 2009 course the RCJ-44  earned a nearly identical ranking of 1.32, evidence the scores are valid and reliable year-to-year.

Given that very tight WildWind result, let me give a huge shout out to Orca Flotta and the entire sail team over at Triumphal; Woots!!!
They’ve logged a flood of new WildWind scores on the test track, adding several new boats to the list! Welcome to the SC22, SC 27, and SC35 v2.0!!!
And although there’s only one lap entry, let me send a shout out to Lance Corimmal for adding the TR-30!!!

Lots more to come soon!!!


Cetaceans Capture CLASSIC Cup

Cetaceans Capture CLASSIC Cup

by Jane Fossett and Naeve Rosinni


Following NYC-Narwhal’s rather remarkable win in Race Three, The 2009 J-CLASSIC Finals Championship became a toss-up for the top three teams. Naeve Rossini summarized the situation for the throng of spectators perched atop balloon platforms around the racecourse:

“As we go into the final race, the standings look like this: Waypoint is in the lead with 5 points overall, Narwhal and Eureka tied with 7 and Second Chance in fourth with 11 points. With one discard, the order is Waypoint, Narwhal, Eureka and Second Chance.
This race WILL decide the winner of the J-Classic 2009!
A win by either Waypoint or Narwhal will declare a clear winner. A Eureka win could result in a 2 or 3-way tie.”

The winner of Race Four would decide who took home the J-Classic Cup… Oli’s Cup

For the fourth time in a row, when the gun went off all boats chose a starboard start. Chaos Mandelbrot was again at the helm of NYC-Narwhal, but he was apparently still cranked after the thrill of Race Three and  jumped the gun too soon. Narwhal went “Over Early” by a full two seconds. Eureka (00:07), Second Chance (00:11), and All-Stars (00:17) maintained their focus and all had good starts.

Chaos immediately 360‘d around the East end of the raceline  to recross, but believed that any chance to win had just gone up in smoke. NYC-Narwhal wasn’t ready to throw in the towel however; they had come too far and were having too much fun to give up just because they were going to lose. As shown by the yellow arrow in image below, the Narwhal crew  cooked up a desperate strategy to restart on a port tack, placing them almost exactly a full tack behind the other three vessels.

If you look more closely at the top picture below, you see that Eureka has the height moving toward the windward mark and Second Chance is lee but ahead of  WYC-All Stars and closely overlapped.

After both boats tacked port, WYC and TrYC continued their overlap duel for position all the way across the Southern Sugar Reef Latitudes. However, As waypoint and Second Chance reached the far end of their port tack, Team All Stars’ skipper Massy Johin crashed off-line and the WYC boat went on the rocks, grounded! Toraba Magic lept into action, taking control of the helm and redirecting the boat back into deep water.

In the top image above the location of the first mark is indicated by a yellow arrow. Eureka is closing on it by pinching from starboard, while Second Chance is coming in on port. NYC is on close haul with a far more efficient wind angle than Eureka but several boat lengths astern. Eureka then stalled as it set up to take the turn at the mark, caught in TrYC’s strong windshadow as Trapez cut across Eureka’s bow to fetch the mark. Narwhal grabbed this opportunity, and within a few seconds NYC barreled past Eureka, capturing the second-place position (shown in last image above).

Approaching Race Rock, TrYC was the undisputed leader, with several boat-lengths separating the Second Chance boat from NYC-Narwhal. Eureka and All-Stars vied for the three-four spots. 

The image above shows TrYC brief moments after taking th tun at Race Rock, and about to enter Hay Harbor Channel. NYC is off the port aft quarter and setting the spinnaker pole.

A non-sailor then briefly jumped aboard the Second Chance  in the waters around Race Rock; this likely brought the TrYC boat to a momentary full stop, allowing Narwhal to roar past as it entered Hay Harbor Channel on a slightly more Easterly course. NYC took full advantage of the open water and clean air, building an impressive lead as they rounded Fishers Island and began the home trip through Schooner Run. Entering Anchor Cove  Channel, NYC was also briefly boarded by the griefer. Narwhal came to a dead stop, but then quickly regained momentum before the remaining fleet could close in.

Eureka got within a few boat lengths of  NYC’s stern, earning the second position. Immediately behind Eureka, however, All-Stars was staging a remarkable comeback performance. Given the short course distance and the field of outstanding sailors, WYC’s crash in Sugar Reef should have taken them completely out of competition, but their great teamwork and remarkable sailing skill brought them back into the fight. As WYC reached the entrance to Anchor Cove Channel, they fell windward and overlapped with TrYC and then played that tactical position to advantage, pulling well ahead of Second Chance as the boats turned downwind into Plum Gut. WYC slowly gained on Eureka as well, but both Eureka and NYC held their own, completing the short windward- leeward loop of Quoddy Head with flawless efficiency. Narwhal hit the finish line in First Place with a commanding, thirty-second lead over Eureka, with All-Stars and Second Chance falling into the third and fourth positions.

Although an early over, a crash, and two griefing episodes complicated Race Four, none of the competing boats raised a protest or petitioned for redress when they were polled at the finish line. Head Judge Soro Dagostino then declared this last race of the 2009 J-CLASSIC Regatta “closed” and valid.

In a rather remarkable display of heart, humor, and flat-out relentless sailing determination, NYC- Narwhal came back from a clumsy Start error to capture the win in Race Four… and earn Oli’s Cup in the process.

Congratulations to Nomad Zamani, Chaos Mandebrot and Glorfindel Arrow!!

Myrrh Massiel awarding the Finals Trophies at Fishers Island Yacht Club

J-CLASSIC FINALS III: Rise of the Cetaceans

When we last left off in this tale of the J-CLASSIC Finals, the NYC-Narwhal crew of Nomad Zamani, Chaos Mandelbrot, and Glorfindel Arrow was in a rather sorry state. It was Half-Time; four races were scheduled, and two were on the scoreboard, but those numbers did not look good for Narwhal. In the first two races, Waypoint All-Stars had repeatedly outmaneuvered NYC, and Eureka proved incredibly fast compared to NYC’s whale-boat entry.

However, the absolute worst thing of all for NYC was that their Ace Starting Pitcher, Nomad Zamani, had crashed-out twice in the last race. Narwhal had used-up it’s only discard in the  crash, so NYC was up now against the wall; Team NYC knew that one more bang-up  like that would be lethal, and surely mean an early end to their hubristic playoff hopes. Although back in the locker room, Nomad was still having connection problems and limping badly when Race Director Hay Ah sounded the horn to field a team for the third contest…

Nomad weighed the odds and made the call. During half-time he huddled and laid out the facts.

Nomad said it was too risky for him to skipper the next race, given his tenuous link with Second Reality; he would just crash again. Nonetheless, he exhorted his NYC crew not to give up, but to fight on… “and win one for the Gipper!”

Narwhal Skipper Chaos Mandelbrot

Sometimes fate moves in strange ways. Amidst the din of wind and wave and the clang of rigging all about them, the members of Team NYC thought Nomad said “Win one with the Flipper.” All eyes fell on Chaos Mandelbrot.

Chaos Mandelbrot looked up, swallowed hard, and uttered the immortal words: “WHO ME??”  He protested it was too early to race in his timezone and he hadn’t brushed his teeth, but Chaos was game-to-go. He put down the beer he was drinking, tightened his PFD, and waddled over to take the helm as Narwhal’s Relief Skipper.

The last two races used a new chart that took better  advantage of the extensive sailing water throughout the sailors Cove Estate. It began with an upwind beat to the orange mark in Sugar Reef, then switched to a three-sim long reach to Race Rock Light. From there the course ran through Hay Harbor channel down to the open waters of Schooner Run. The return trip from there to Plum Gut next involved a tricky, narrow squeeze through Anchor Cove, followed by a short detour south around the small island in Quoddy Head. The course was nothing too complicated, and the competition skippers had certainly sailed similar charts many times before. Nonetheless it would take a good deal of skill, and probably some good luck to take first place sailing against this fleet.

However, when the gun went off, Waypoint was ready, and took the advantage!

Massy Johin was once again at the helm, and his WYC All-Stars crew started in the lead with the best time of the day: 00:02. NYC was considerably further windward but started a full ten seconds later, followed by Eureka and then Second Chance.

The next picture (on the right) shows a view of the fleet from high above the spectator blimp taken after the fleet made its first tack; all the boats were now on port. On the left of the image you can see Waypoint leading Eureka, and the right side shows Narwhal far in the distance in front of Second Chance.  NYC is the ‘lowest’ of the four boats as they proceed to the mark.

When he did not win the start, Chaos kept a cool head and took a lesson from WYC’s tactics in Race One. Finding himself  hehind, Chaos deliberately tacked early, sailing away from the pack.

Look what happened next in the picture below. The first image shows Chaos as he reaches the end of his course  and makes a turn; his new course is a starboard right-of-way tack that crosses directly in front of the rest of the fleet.  Chaos timed it perfectly; the middle image shows Narwhal crossing right in front of All-Star’s path. Massy now had no choice; he pulled up short and came about to starboard.

The lower image is a few moments later. It shows all three boats now sailing on starboard with the orange mark in the distance, two tacks away. WYC looks in the lead, but NYC is sailing windward and closer to the mark. Perhaps more important, in that position Narwhal has the “height” to take tactical control.

Watch what Narwhal does next.

As you can see in the first image below, since All-Stars was running parallel and ahead of Narwhal but on a lower course, they ran out of water and had to tack back to port again. The problem is that NYC was blocking them, and NYC was still on Starboard with Right-of-Way. Waypoint had plenty of room, but in order to avoid NYC, All-Stars had to fall off and go astern of Narwhal as shown in the middle image.

That extra few seconds and change in course heading proved disastrous for Narwhal’s competition. Remember, Eureka and Second Chance Were on the same heading and only moments behind the lead boats. In response to NYC’s blocking maneuver, All-Stars lost momentum and turned into the path of the oncoming boats, as shown in the middle image. I can imagine Alain and Trapez shouting  a few unrepeatable words as they desperately tried to execute last minute hockey-stop turns. A collision was inevitable however; the WYC, Eureka, and Second Chance teams all broadsided each other and awkwardly sat in place for more than a few moments  as they sorted out locked rigging and disengaged their scraped hulls.

While all that was going on, Narwhal was out ahead with clean air and an unobstructed racecourse, moving in record time.

The image below shows the NYC team roaring through Anchor Cove Channel on their way to the final leg of the course. Unfortunately the other three boats continued in close quarters after their pile-up. They stayed overlapped and squabbling  for nearly the entire remainder of the race, losing time in the process.

The lower image below shows them traveling three abreast in Anchor Cove. That must be a tribute to wonderful sailing; I didn’t think it was actually possible to fit three J-Class in that channel overlapped…

The final figure below shows Narwhal working the last leg back to the raceline, while the other three boats have just raised spinnaker and are still heading to the last waypoint. Narwhal went on to take Race Three’s First Place in record time, finishing a full two minutes ahead of WYC All-Stars, the Runner-Up.

Nice work for a substitute skipper du jour, Chaos!


J-CLASSIC FINALS: Toraba, Terrific!

OK OK OK, I know I haven’t written very much here recently, but don’t expect any apologies, since I’ve been up to my neck in details with the J-Classic races!  After ten weeks, 120 sailors, 15 teams,  and races that traversed 800 sims… Wow!  Do I have a lot to write about. If you were there for any of J-CLASSIC, you know what I mean.  

 Most sailors already know there were eight major distance races that served as the qualifying events for the J-Classic. Fifteen incredible teams participated, and by the scores and my personal estimation, every single one of those teams proved a champion.  Nonetheless, when the dust settled after eight events, only four teams remained standing. That group of four then advanced to the Final Round in Sailor’s Cove on November 7.

Today let me take a few minutes to share just one of the races from that day; the very first one. However, I promise to keep going over the next few weeks, and cover the whole event (I hope!).

 The Final Four J-Classic Teams (and their final sailing crews) were:

  •  Nantucket Yacht Club — Narwhal:
    Chaos Mandelbrot, Nomad Zamani, Glorfindel Arrow 
  • Waypoint Yacht Club — All-Stars:
    Massy Johin, Toraba Magic, Mikoto Daxter, Steyr Darwin
  •   Eureka:
    Alain Gloster, Suzi Siemens:  
  • Triumphal Yacht Club — Second Chance:
    Trapez Breen, Fiona Haworth 

The Finals consisted of four races that all began in Plum Gut.

The First two races followed a course familiar to many sailors, based on Epicurus Emmon’s old FIYC Hotlaps Chart. Using a wind from due North, the fleet progressed on a beat to the orange mark in Sugar Reef, then fell on a reach to Race Rock. The return path reversed this route, but then continued South to circle a small island in Quoddy Head that allowed an upwind final leg to the Finish.

 J-Classic Finals Chart 101 512Nothing too tricky, you might think, but often the most simple courses like this one end up the most difficult; they provide a true test of fundamental sailing skill and tactics.

Waypoint All-Stars drove this point home in the first race.

The images below show the start of Race One; Narwhal, Eureka, and Second Chance all began on a Starboard close haul tack in single file. With Nomad Zamani at the helm, Narwhal boldly jumped out in front of the pack and set the pace, crossing the tape near the windward end of the race line at 00:00:03. WYC All-Stars, led by Toraba Magic, chose a riskier pre-start tactic; they came at the line on an unobstructed reach from Anchor Cove channel. Luckily, All Stars had plenty of room to do this without barging, and they fell in behind the leader Narwhal with a starting time of 00:00:13. Eureka was next to cross with 00:00:27, and Second Chance brought up the rear at 00:00:42.


So far this looked like a pretty standard race, with a textbook Starboard Start  leading to a upwind beat to the first mark. Conventional sailing dogma says the fastest boat would be the one that now made a series of long tacks with the fewest number of gybes to that first orange mark in Sugar Reef. Narwhal was following the playbook. NYC was in front with a 10 second lead, and given its windward dominant position, there was an excellent chance Narwhal would continue to pull away from the fleet unless it made a mistake. Nomad Zamani was at the helm, however, and everyone watching knew Nomad made precious few mistakes in eight prior J-CLASSIC performances.

 As I watched the race begin, I thought that Narwhal might already have this first race in the bag, right there in Plum Gut…

But I was wrong.

I didn’t know what Toraba Magic had planned! Toraba knew how this race was going to unfold unless he switched tactics and took control.  He wasn’t going to just play Nomad’s follow-the-leader game and settle for the #2 spot in this race.

Toraba defied the usual conventions: he  swung over the helm shortly after crossing the line and took off on a port tack sailing away from the rest of the fleet; All-Stars was laying a trap!


If you look at the picture above, you can see the positions of the four boats a minute later as they continue to tack upwind through Flat Hammock. Narwhal, Eureka and Second Chance are now all on port tack, and Nomad is in control with a clearly dominant windward position relative to the other two boats. If either try to pass NYC, all Nomad has to do is fall a bit off the wind to gain speed and then use the shadow from those huge J-Classic sails to hold the competition in check.

But look again at that top picture above. Toraba isn’t playing that game. Remember All-Stars  tacked early, so although WYC is still  technically behind and lower than Narwhal, they have already gybed. Toraba has Starboard Right-Of-Way and NYC is in his crosshairs. Nomad could see the set up also; he was forced to gybe Narwhal early and yield position to All-Stars.

Look at the second picture above, after NYC and Eureka both came about. With Toraba’s one maneuver and in a very short amount of time, the WYC team snatched the lead away. Woots! Nice sailing, ALL-STARS!!!

Once Toraba was in the driver’s seat, he played it to advantage and continued to eat Narwhal’s lunch. As you can see in the top frame below, Nomad was skillfully fighting back as the fleet of four tacked across the southern half of Sugar Reef. Narwhal gained at least two boat lengths in that short distance, coming into overlap with the WYC boat, but Toraba successfully fended Nomad off with windshadow. As shown in the second picture below, all three lead boats ran out of water on that tack before Narwhal had any hope of challenging WYC’s juggernaut.

Toraba then skillfully flipped to port tack, threw another blanket on Narwhal (just to be sure), and then turned his eyes on the first mark, just a short jump ahead. All-Stars then never looked back; they plugged into overdrive and thirty seconds later they ‘poof’ disppeared from my screen, out of view range.J-CLASSIC Finals Race One - 04 Narwhal, Eureka, and Second Chance were, however, still closely positioned and approaching that first mark. Eureka ended up overlapped with Narwhal as they came to the turn, as shown below. There was no protest, and I have not discussed it with any of the skippers, but I think it would be an interesting discussion about who had Right-Of-Way and which rules applied in this next sequence.

 As shown below Narwhal was high enough to reach the first mark on port tack by ‘pinching’ to windward. If you look behind NYC in the first picture, you can see Trapez Breen sailing TrYC on an optimum port tack – close haul heading; by comparison Narwhal is sheeted too tightly by intention, trying to scrape  past the mark without needing to make an extra time-wasting turn.

There is one problem with this plan … Eureka.

Alain Gloster (Eureka’s  skipper)  had not needed to fight All-Stars, so he was still fresh, focused, and well-rested ( 🙂 (although I admit it was 3:00AM for Alain).   Eureka was able to make the extra, short turn  it needed to approach the orange mark correctly on a starboard tack. The pictures below suggest Alain ended up “in the zone,” inside NYC  and on Starboard tack, with Narwhal on Port. I only had one vantage point, so I can’t say for certain what the ruling would have been here, but I admit that the judges were watching and had a quick cross-check when this occurred to find out if there were protests or if skippers had calls for room that might not have registered on our chat screens.

There were no such protests, and Narwhal grabbed the opportunity to secure the #2 spot by turning ahead of Eureka .

J-CLASSIC Finals Race One - 05 

 The image below shows the lineup after the remaining three boats passed the mark and set an outbound reach course towards Race Rock: The order was 2-Narwhal, 3-Eureka, and 4-Second Chance!

 WYC was so far out front  in that image it was no longer in draw range. A few moments later, however, the WYC All-Stars emerged from the mist over the northern Sailor’s Cove waterways as it steamed back full throttle on the return course. 


J-CLASSIC Finals Race One - 07

With incredible speed, spinnaker a-fly, and zero competition anywhere within two sims, Waypoint had time to flaunt it; they did a show-off runway strut downwind past the overflow crowds waiting by the Finish Line. As the last image above shows, Toraba then cut the line a full two tacks and one minute ahead of NYC and Eureka. It was a remarkable victory lead for a boat, a team, and a skipper.

Recently I’ve been reading opinion posts by people (generally non-racers) who complain that SL Sailing is an ill-equipped, poorly suited game that can’t possibly match our goals to emulate the challenges of Real-Life sail racing. There are many facets to that question, I know, but after watching this first Finals race, I was pretty comfortable I knew my answer to these nay-sayers.  What I saw  in the above race was the real thing;  full of strategy, intelligence, and down-out plain ‘guts.’ That’s real sailing, and if you don’t think so… 

Go talk to Toraba and TEAM WAYPOINT !!!!!!       

The Finals had three more races, and Eureka, Second Chance, and Narwhal all had moments to strut-their-stuff and show why they deserved a slot in the J-Classic Final Four! Narwhal finally pulled off the untimate victory with an incredible tour de force display of talent and determination…

but it’s late, and if you want to hear how it all turned out, you’ll have to “tune-in next time, kids…” 

Style, Substance, and a few Classy Moves: The 2009 J-Classic

2009 J-Classic 5

Eighty years ago a  small handful of truly wonderous boats competed for the America’s Cup under the “J-rule.” Only 10 J-Class were ever built and their brief reign on the seas lasted only a decade. However the majesty, substance and style of the J-Class fleet captured the imagination of the entire world, and images of J-Class still live on in the dreams of the generations of sailors that followed.

This year the dream comes alive again, as a new fleet of incredible J-Class boats hits the water in Second Life. Within the next few weeks, Trudeau Yachts will launch the latest version of this classic racer, and this boat’s just aching to hit the startline. SL Sailors are ready… to make history once more. So here we go, announcing the:

—- 2009 JCLASSIC

The 2009 J-Classic will be an open, multi-site, One Design race series for Trudeau J-Class boats.


Each boat competing in the regatta will be registered to a “Sailing Team” of 2-6 individuals who sponsor the boat and work together during the series to help that boat win.

The competition will begin with a series of distance races. Each race will span 60-80 sims and take approximately 60-90 min to complete. Individual Yacht Clubs and sailing groups will be involved in the planning and hosting of distance events at their ‘home’ raceline. Depending on the number of boats in the competition fleet and the number of destination clubs involved, a total of six-eight distance races will be held, one each week. Two time slots will be offerred for each race, for the convience of sailors in different time zones.

J-Class logo2

The final scoring of the competition fleet will be decided by a point-based rank comparison of each boat’s best four race results (out of 6-8 total). The four fastest boats (and their associated Sailing Teams) will then go on to compete in a one-day J-Classic Finals Regatta, sailing four heats on an Olympic-style short course designed to challenge the sailors’ tactical sailing ability.

The 2009 J-Classic competition is designed in the true tradition of ocean yacht racing from years past, with an emphasis on fun, excitement, and a team sailing effort. The open-team approach and the large number of ‘throw-outs’ means a sailor can be part of the competition with minimal stress and without a major disruption to his/her RL schedule. Miss a couple weeks’ races? No worries; your team is still on the water.

I’ll announce the regatta dates for the competition soon after the new J-Class is launched, and post all the race information and details at that time, both online and in world!


Note: Thank you to Surfwidow Beaumont for a truly incredible job on the “J-Classic promo video” above!
And thank you to the sailors who patiently worked with Surf to make it possible:
Massy Johin, Kei Cioc, Silber Sands, Chad Sawson, and Liv Leigh.


Fast Forty-Four

rcj-44 numbers

 by Jane Fossett and Naeve Rossini

WOOOT!!  Let me give a huge shout-out for Naeve Rossini; She sent me her polar plots for a popular boat I’ve not had an opportunity to test, the RCJ-44 (a.k.a. “Orca Flotta’s favorite boat“).

Geddy Paule doing RCJ-44 PHRF Hotlaps in Madaket.

Geddy Paule doing RCJ-44 PHRF Hotlaps in Madaket.

The RCJ-44 is a large, sloop-rigged one design cruiser/ racer. It’s widely regarded as extremely fast and relatively easy to handle, making it a popular choice on the Big-Boat circuit.

april_29_2009_summary_197aThe PHRF handicap results from April confirm the impression the RCJ-44 is super-speedy. If you look on the chart to the right, the blue numbers reveal the 2009 Handicaps for different boats tested in Madaket, while the green numbers show last year’s scores obtained on a series of different race courses. The RCJ-44 so far has a handicap of 1.29, which makes it nearly 40% faster on a standard lap than a Trudeau J-Class (handicap 0.93).

 Excluding the ACC-2 (which uses a different wind system), the RCJ-44 is actually faster than all other large boats tested under PHRF except for the VOJ. That probably makes sense, since it’s also made by Wildwind. The RCJ-44’s speed is comparable to Surwidow Beaumont’s Dutch Barge (handicap 1.27) and just behind the venerable Tako 3.3 (1.31) (Happy Birthday Kanker!!!).

 geddy paule_005a

The graph below uses Naeve’s data to detail the RCJ-44’s performance. With a constant 5.0 m per second breeze, The boat’s maximum steady-state speed was determined for apparent wind angles between 10° and 180°. The blue line shown below reveals the boat’s performance with mainsail and jib. The red line, on the other hand, shows what happens when you swap the genniker as the headsail.

For comparison purposes, I’ve included a similar chart for the Trudeau J-Class right below the RCJ-44 data.

Using the jib, the RJC has a fairly broad performance curve that is largely flat between 60 and 90°. Between 35° and 125° the boat’s speed over ground (SOG)  actually exceeds the real wind speed. It’s no wonder this boat is very popular; the wind algorithm is more forgiving than your Mom, and  (grin) perhaps at times as unrealistic!RCJ-44 polar

Luffed windward at 20° apparent, the boat makes minimal headway. However the moment the sails fill as it falls off to 30° the RCJ-44 springs to life, accelerating to an SOG just below true wind speed. This sudden, explosive upwind response is typical of camber airfoil dynamics as the sails take shape and turn into a ‘lift engine’ driving the boat forward. The same thing is true for the Trudeau J-Class, as shown below. In that case, though,The sails start to fill later, between 30°- 40°,  generating a lift  that results in an SOG  that’s 75% of True Wind. The J-Class is hardly as kind or generous as the RCJ, but perhaps it’s more realistic. The J-Class offers a skipper a more pragmatic, hard-nosed, “Tough love” Big Boat option. 

Of course, there’s another practical explanation of the upwind difference in the two boats: The J-Class is a remake of a legendary racing boat from the 1930s; one should hardly expect it to point as high, or sail as fast as a present-day high-performance yacht. The difference between the two boats is a bit surprising, however. (Newtonian physics is still the law now, as it was in the 1930’s, after all.)

J-Class 7.1 polar

Take a look at the red curves now for both boats. For the RJC, that curve shows the speed over ground for the RCJ-44 when flying a genniker. On upwind points of sail, the shape of that foresail is inefficient, and it does approximately 20% less well than a standard jib. However, between 100° – 110° the genniker suddenly kicks in and comes to life; there’s an easy25% boost in boat speed as the genniker fills. By 120° Apparent, using the genniker is a full 20% faster than relying on the jib alone, and that difference expands to over 80% on more extreme downwind points of sail. Once again, these numbers are somewhat exaggerated compared to real life, particularly considering the RL common use of oversized genoa jibs. A genniker or asymmetric spinnaker can be expected to provide a big downwind boost, but 80% only makes sense if you have divine intervention. Lindens haven’t quite reached that status yet.

Having said that, if you look at the red curve for the Trudeau J-Class in the second chart, it probably underestimates the spinnaker effect. The J-Class throws up a massive, symmetric spinnaker, and there is approximately a 20% boost in performance at 130° when compared to the jib alone. This performance enhancement widens progressively on further downwind points.  Given the size of the spinnaker and the downwind physics of headsail performance  as translated into second life,  an initial boost of 10% when the chute inflates and a boat speed of 40% true wind at 170° apparent may actually well underestimate the spinnaker’s true potential. (In other words, that’s one big whopping sail! It should have a BIG whaopping effect, and the J-Class parachute may be underpowered!).

Please don’t take any of this as serious science, however; good grief. Both the 44 and the J-Class are wonderful, fun boats, and all the numbers discussed above are mostly intended to give sailors more fuel for their late-night arguments over sailing strategy and the creative explanations we all evolve for why we lost that last race… (grin).

Should you buy a 44? Is a J-Class better? I don’t know; Naeve doesn’t know either. They’re both highly detailed and well planned-out sailing vessels that reflect the skills of the artisans. Both boats stand in tribute to the wonders and challenge of sailing, in real life as they do here in second life.

As sailors we should all feel privileged to have options… both options… and so many more, as well.

geddy paule_009a